An exciting delivery: books

There is something fun and exciting about receiving a package in the post and it’s even more exciting when it’s a package you’ve been waiting for with baited breath. Today my order of books finally came, and let me tell you there was a moment of joy when I saw the mailman. The emotions went as following; first there was confusion “Why is the mailman here on a Sunday?” then there was hope, “Could it be…my books”, then there was a moment of suspense after politely taking the package and thanking the mailman. As soon as the front door closed, I was a crazy women; jumping up and down while trying to rip open the box. And then the box rip open to reveal books. Lovely, new, fresh books.

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While I know that hard-cover books are more desirable when creating one’s collecting, I often prefer to get paper backs. I love paper backs because they’re much easier to throw in a bag ‘on the go’ for someone like me who reads everywhere.

Right now I’m at the end of Some Tame Gazelle by Barbara Pym, so will be starting these very soon! The only problem is deciding which to read first…

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After reading Paris by Edward Rutherfurd (which I highly suggest) I was absolutely hooked and upon finishing knew I had to order more. I ordered New York (pictured above) and LondonI am looking forward to reading them both!

I also ordered A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. I ordered this because not only did a history teacher and english teacher suggest it, but it seemed like one of those books that every American should read to understand what our country was founded on.

Finally I ordered September by Rosamunde Pilcher. She is an author who’s books I have enjoyed, as I wrote about a month ago in Discovering a New Author: Rosamunde Pilcher.

If you haven’t already figured it out from previous posts, you know it now; I love history. I look forward to reading these very soon! Which one would you read first?

 

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Discovering a new author: Rosamunde Pilcher

Discovering a good author is like finding a new friend; you enjoy their company, or their books, and you hope to be able to rely on them for more words in the future. I have recently discovered the books of Rosamunde Pilcher, and while she is new to me, she is known and has been known to others for some time now. She is an English writer who began writing in 1949. Though I just discovered a few of her books, they were living on my families book shelf, right under my nose the whole time. These were originally my Grandma Cathy’s books, who read them in the eighties and was inspired by them to travel to places in England that were mentioned in a few of the books.

I first read Coming Home and was immediately drawn in by the story, set in mostly England, but also involving elsewhere. The story is sweet, interesting and entertaining and I give it my highest praises. After finishing Coming Home, I immediately begun to read Winter Solstice, another great read! Having finished that one in a short time I have now picked up The Shell Seekers and am thoroughly enjoying it. These books give an insight to English culture, and through them I have met many wonderful and complex characters. These books make me want to travel to some of the locations mentioned, as my Grandma did.

There are times when I have “readers block” and can’t seem to find a good book, but it never lasts long, for the world has a never ending supply of writing just waiting to be discovered.

What are your latest discoveries in literature?

Movie Adaptations of Books: Good or Bad?

When movie adaptations of books are made they are often analyzed very critically and receive mixed reviews. After reading many books and seeing many adaptations of these books, I have begun to wonder; are these adaptations a good or bad thing? On one hand books allow ones imagination to wander, and envision the characters in a certain way. Movie adaptations tell us that a character looks a particular way, talks a particular way, etc. On top of that these movie can misrepresent books, and are beginning to create a generation of people who are a fan of a book, but have only seen the movie. I have listed many cons of these adaptations, but there are some pros. These movies can sometimes encourage people to read the books, or further our love and understanding of something. In many cases I enjoy the movie adaptation, as a movie, though not as a rightful representation of the book.

Photo taken by myself

Photo taken by myself

I am a huge fan of both the Harry Potter books and movies, separately. There are some moments in the movies that they definitely got right, but there are also some very loved moments that they missed. I love reading the books (over and over again) but I can also often be found indulging in the movies. I love them both, but for different reasons. Yes, because of the movies I see Harry as a young Daniel Radcliffe, Hermione as a young, bushy haired Emma Watson, etc. but this doesn’t take away from my reading experience. Because I read these books first, I already had an idea of what I thought the characters were like, and every now and then, when reading the books, I can see the characters as I first saw them.

 

The Great Gatsby was adapted to screen by Baz Luhrmann in 2013 to the happiness of some and dismay of others. Which was my reaction? It was mixed. While I though Leonardo Dicaprio made a great Gatsby (pun intended), I was not pleased with the musical choices made. The soundtrack was very good, but it simply did not fit with the film. The Great Gatsby is a book about the jazz age and the 1920’s, so it was very odd to me that they didn’t include 1920’s jazz in the movie. Instead, they took a modern approach. There are elements of this film that I liked, but the musical accompaniment didn’t pay tribute to this classic.

These are just a couple of examples of books that were later adapted to screen. How do you feel about screen adaptations of books?

 

 

Fictional Heroines and I

As an avid book reader I have met and enjoyed the company of many heroes and heroines. As a girl there is something about a strong female character that I can relate to and be inspired by. Over the years, a number of inspiring female characters have collected. The following is just a few of these inspiring women.

Hermione Granger is a character in the Harry Potter novels. She is the brightest witch of her age, and is an endless source of strength, wit and knowledge through out the series. Hermione is one of the strong women who have inspired me. She is independent, smart, and through many a hard times a true and good friend. She is a character to look up to, learn from and strive to be alike. A true heroine.

Elizabeth “Lizzy” Bennet is a character from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. She is a young women who refuses to marry a man far above her and of good means, when first proposed to. Lizzy is a girl after love in a time when women were expected to marry before they got to old. She is strong, smart, proud and witty character that many can relate to, despite her being from another era.

Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire in the Hunger Games. She is forced to fight to the death (literally) in a dystopian society, but goes on to become a revolutionary symbol and leader. She is a strong women, the back bone of her family and later the symbol of hope for many.

Jo March is a smart, creative writer in the novel Little Women. She is proud of her accomplishments as a writer, and pursues a career despite what society tells her. Jo is a loyal and loving women. Jo teaches us to be true to yourself.

Liesel Meminger is a character from the novel The Book Thief. Though she is just a young girl, she is brave and loyal to someone who the society tells her is the enemy. She is a girl who loves words and knows the importance of them. She is a girl who teaches us to stand up for what you believe in.

All these literary characters are women with strong values, and wit. There is something to be taken from each of their stories. What have you taken from the stories of some of your favorite literary characters?

Saying Goodbye to Winter

Though my town received a somewhat weak winter this year, it was winter none the less. These past few days I have seen the weather getting warmer, and the sun setting later (thanks to the time change). With the Spring equinox right around the corner, we are now able to fondly look back on the winter months.

My town did not receive much rain this year, but I will miss the little rain we did have. I love the rain. It invigorates you, makes you feel alive. Much like having a chilly nose. Though some may deem these things unpleasant, I enjoy them, though perhaps I wouldn’t if I had to deal with them on a regular basis

Any excuse to curl up by the fire with a book and hot drink is a good excuse to me, and chilly winter nights gave this excuse many a time. Though you will find me curled up with a book in every season, I may not always have as good an excuse to. Winter and cozy are two words that easily go together.

During the winter, I often find myself burrowing into my cozy bedroom. Flannel sheets come out, and the room gives off a warmer vibe during these months. In the other months I will enjoy a different kind of feeling in my room.

Baking is a much exercised thing in the winter. There are holidays which require baking, and so much more. While you will defiantly catch we taking a warm batch of cookies out of the oven all year long, the warm smell of baking always reminds me of winter.

What aspects of winter will you be reminiscing about come summer?

Powell’s books: heaven for a book lover.

While in Portland this weekend, there was one place I especially wanted to spend some time; Powell’s books. Powell’s books is an enormous book store located in downtown Portland that has shelves and shelves of books. The first time I went there I was overwhelmed by the mass amount of books and spent most of my time browsing a few different sections. As a fan of used books, I was very excited to learn that there were used books mixed in with the new.

On my second trip to Powell’s it was a chilly evening. My mother and I headed in the direction of Powell’s intending to spend some time there, but became sidetracked. Despite this, we did end up at the warm book store looking in different sections. Being so big, Powell’s has many sections including a rose room, a pearl room, etc. My mom wanted to look in the home section, so we headed over there. I expected to be bored, but instead found a great find. As a big Barbra Streisand fan I was pleased at seeing her book My Passion for Design on the shelf. I picked it up, planning to flip through it a bit but instead ended up reading, and enjoying, the intro. This book was not only a find I did not expect, but being used was rather marked down. That’s one of the great things about Powell’s; you never know what you’re going to find!

Powell’s is a cozy, despite the large size, bookstore and I highly suggest checking it out if you are ever in Portland. Had I more time, I can imagine myself discovering more and more of this bookshop. 

A not so Little Woman

As a young girl my favorite book was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, a novel originally published in two installments in 1868 and 1869. It is a story of four sisters; Meg, the eldest of the sisters who was described as beautiful with a calming presence, Jo, the second eldest and most wild of the sisters who I could not help but love, Beth, who is sweet and giving, and finally the youngest, Amy, who longs to see more of her elder sisters world. Jo is the writer of the bunch and writes plays which the four sister perform to keep busy. In this story we watch these sisters grow up, and even marry. Despite having grown up a bit myself, this story is still definitely one of my favorites and I often find myself cozily re-reading it on many a grey day.

Louisa May Alcott is the author of this semi-biographical work. While the book is fiction, it was loosely based on Louisa and her three sisters, with her self as the model for Jo. She was raised by transcendentalist parents and grew up around some well-known intellectuals such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. She was a feminist and abolitionist. Louisa May Alcott wrote many words the world enjoys today. 

Two years ago I was able to visit Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House in Concord Massachusetts. She wrote and set Little Women there, so it was very interesting to physically see the story come alive. The house was set up very much like how it would have been in the Alcott’s day. It was cozy, and had many nooks and cranny’s that I could imagine Louisa and her sisters enjoying.

When I visited the Alcott’s Orchard house it looked a lot like the picture above. I hope to visit it again in other seasons for I imagine it would be very beautiful.